FUNCTIONAL FASHION: INTERVIEW WITH LINDSAY LINGLE
As time goes on, fashion has become more about function (hey athlesuire!) but that often means that the overall look of the design can at times be compromised especially when it comes to multifunctional work bags for women. Lindsay Lingle, founder of Holly & Tanager, not only suffered from the same problem but saw the current frustrations many women faced when searching for the perfect bag. So, she (along with the H&T team) set out to create bags that are designed to keep up with women and their busy schedules.
On top of being fashionable and functional, each bag is made in the USA, supporting US communities so it's truly a bag you can feel good about purchasing - score! Keep reading for the full story of the locally sourced handbag and accessory line...
Honestly Unfiltered: How did Holly & Tanager get its start?
Lindsay Lingle: Holly & Tanager was the result of traveling a lot for work and not being satisfied with what was in the market for handbags. Kathryn (H&T's co-founder) and I always describe the current solutions as “black hole” bags. We wanted to do something about that. So, Holly & Tanager was started.
HU: What was the biggest challenge?
LL: The biggest challenge was starting. First, it’s kind of scary to leave your job, but we knew this was something we wanted to give our best shot at. Also, Kathryn and I both came out of corporate and worked in marketing and sales, so product development wasn’t exactly a skill set we had. But we set out to learn, we went to trade shows, attended educational sessions and found partners to help us navigate the space. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but we just keep pushing forward. It has been the greatest ride, and Kathryn and I have learned so much along the way.
HU: What makes H&T different from other handbag lines?
LL: There are a couple of aspects that make our bags different. First and foremost, our design approach is function first, so what is the problem we are trying to address. We want to make sure the pockets make sense, they are placed where they should be, and they are large enough to fit things you actually carry – like your cell phone. We also look at versatility, we want our customers to get the most out of their H&T bags, take the Sidekick 2.0 – it is a clutch and a cross body bag, without the awkward hardware hanging off it. Second, we source quality pieces that make up the bag, your hardware won’t chip, your zippers will slide easily and your leather will look fabulous.
HU: Does the name Holly & Tanager have a special meaning? How did you come up what that name?
LL: Holly & Tanager has a special meaning, it is the intersection that I grew up on. I actually had my first lemonade stand there too! This just felt right, the place where I learned about business should be the name of my first “real” business.
HU: What’s one thing you’ve learned being in business for yourself that you didn’t know before the H&T journey began?
LL: How a business works. All my roles prior to H&T was one sector of the business, so I went deep into an area of our business as opposed to understanding how all the pieces come together. Now we are managing idea, through product development, through manufacturing to sales – and all the in between. I was talking with another entrepreneur and he had a good analogy. Before I was trying to keep one plate spinning, now I am trying to keep 30 plates all spinning at the same time. I feel that I have grown as a business person and woman in business – I wouldn’t trade it, even on the hardest days.
HU: Did you ever had a moment of doubt that made you second guess starting your business? If so, how did you overcome that?
LL: I think I have had many moments of doubt, but I think that is being in business for yourself. One of the scariest moments was actually launching… I kept thinking what if no one likes what we have poured our blood, sweat and tears into! But the little moments of success help, hearing people say that they have never had a better wallet – that’s our specialist for those that want to check it out. Those moments keep you going.
HU: What’s been the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
LL: Seeing people carry something I dreamed up in my head and now someone has it, and loves it. That is truly rewarding.
HU: What misconception, if any, do you want to set straight for other aspiring entrepreneurs who have reservations about getting started?
LL: Have a plan and get started. Learn from those in your industry. It’s ok to ask questions and to not know the answers. You don’t have to know everything to get started. But also know yourself, starting your own business is not for everyone, and it is not as glamourous as people think. It is hard work, but if you’re willing to do it, it will be the best decision you ever make.
Photos by: Samantha Jean Photography
MORE WITH LINDSAY LINGLE: Favorite H&T bag? The Specialist. Most used app on your phone? Instagram. Coffee or tea? Coffee – I have a caffeine addiction. Guilty pleasure? Cat YouTube videos. Favorite travel destination? Southern Indiana, my second home. What can’t you leave home without? My cell phone, sunglasses and my specialist. Favorite inspirational quote? “Little girls with dreams become women with vision” Biggest entrepreneurial inspiration? My mom. She started her own equine stables after my sister and I finished college, she didn’t have to do that, but she wanted to follow her dream, no matter where she was in her life. Check out Forward Stride Stables. Favorite food? Pasta. Favorite item in your closet? My J/Slides platform sneakers - LOVE THEM